Lent should suggest to us these basic questions: Am I advancing in my faithfulness to Christ, in my desire for holiness, in a generous apostolate in my daily life, in my ordinary work among my colleagues? Each one of us, silently, should answer these questions, and we will see that we need to change again if Christ is to live in us, if Jesus’ image is to be reflected clearly in our behaviour. -St. Josemaria Escriva
Note from Ron: I am publishing this a day early giving everyone time to prepare!
Lent starts tomorrow. What’s your plan? Are you “giving up” chocolate? Perhaps you’re going to “do something extra” as a way to grow in holiness.
Prior to experiencing the disciplines of Exodus 90 I normally gave something up. The toughest Lent, for me, was probably the time I gave up the use of all condiments. No ketchup. No BBQ sauce. No ranch for my pizza (don’t knock it until you try it). I can’t lie… it was hard.
But, now, as I look back I realize it was a joke. You see I found ways around it. I started to pile so many jalapeño peppers onto whatever I was eating I forgot all about the lack of mayonnaise. And, of course, a little vinegar sprinkled on top of that Subway sandwich was OK… I mean… it’s vinegar. That’s no condiment!
So, like so many other aspects of my spiritual life… I found a way to rationalize bad behavior.
Lent isn’t the time to rationalize or test limits. It’s a time to lock our eyes onto Christ. It’s a time of penance. This is why I’m so thankful for the disciplines of Exodus. My brothers and I are locking things down once again this Lent.
No electronics/media unless it’s work related. No TV. No movies. Cold showers. No sweets. Vigorous exercise (think burpees… lots of burpees), no non Christian music, weekly holy hour, and daily spiritual workouts (scripture, reflections, etc.). There are a few other things but these are the highlights.
And, yes, I know… I may have lost you at cold showers. But you can do it. You really can. Just turn the damn water as cold as it will go and get in. I promise the water isn’t colder than it is for my brother, Andy, who now lives in Colorado. He does it. So can you.
Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!